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- #1Celebrity Cruises#1 in Best Cruises to Hawaii
Launched in 2010 and scheduled for refurbishment in November 2020, the 2,850-passenger Eclipse is one of Celebrity's largest vessels. About 85 percent of Eclipse's accommodations include verandas, and those who splurge on suites and Aqua Class staterooms receive butler service and access to exclusive specialty dining. All cabins offer interactive flat-screen TVs and 24-hour room service.
As far as activities go, travelers can stay active at the Lawn Club, lounge by three pools, participate in cooking classes and shop at a variety of upscale boutiques. In the evenings, cruisers can enjoy theme parties, comedy acts and Broadway-style shows. Meanwhile, kids programming (geared toward guests ages 3 to 17) includes karaoke, Xbox consoles and organized games.
When it comes to dining, past cruisers praised the variety of casual and formal choices. The ship offers 11 eateries, including five specialty venues where reservations are required and additional charges apply. From the room stewards to the restaurant servers, Celebrity Eclipse's staff was also a point of praise among recent guests.
- #2Holland America Line#2 in Best Cruises to Hawaii
Originally launched in 2008 and updated in late 2015, Eurodam carries up to 2,104 passengers and 876 crew members.
The ship’s 11 decks include five cabin categories: Interior staterooms (141 to 284 square feet), Ocean View and Verandah staterooms, and Signature and Neptune Suites. All cabins come equipped with plush Euro-Top mattresses and flat-screen TVs. Suites received updates to the furniture, carpeting and bathrooms, as well as a USB outlet on the bed's headboard and a Bose Bluetooth speaker.
Recent cruisers of Eurodam were pleased with the versatile selection of nine dining venues. Most notably, the ship offers Tamarind, which serves exotic fare from Southeast Asia, China and Japan.
Daytime activities range from the new America's Test Kitchen to the BBC Earth Experiences. More active pursuits include two swimming pools and sports courts. In the evenings, passengers can sip cocktails at one of the bars or lounges or take in a show at the Lincoln Center Stage or B.B. King's Blues Club.
- #3Princess Cruises#3 in Best Cruises to Hawaii (tie)
Emerald Princess, which debuted in 2007 and was recently updated in April 2019, is one of the largest ships in the fleet. It carries up to 3,080 passengers and 1,200 crew members, and it offers balconies in 80 percent of its exterior cabins. Recent cruisers describe the accommodations as sleek and spacious.
While groups can opt for a Family Suite for more square footage, those who splurge on Suite category cabins are granted perks like specialty dining and priority disembarkation at ports. All cabins come equipped with flat-screen TVs and minifridges. What's more, as of August 2020, each guest aboard Emerald Princess will receive an OceanMedallion wearable device to unlock his or her stateroom, make onboard payments, track down friends and family and more.
Activities include duty-free shopping boutiques, the Lotus Spa and a photography studio. In the evenings, theater shows, outdoor movies and multiple lounging areas keep cruisers entertained. The ship also offers age-appropriate youth clubs; in fact, the Camp Discover Youth & Teen Centers were refreshed during the refurbishment. With four pool areas, seven whirlpool spas, the newly reimagined Sanctuary and an abundance of dining venues – including seven specialty restaurants – the ship rarely felt crowded (according to most passengers). Guests will be especially fond of the new Steamers Seafood restaurant and Planks BBQ venue.
- #3Princess Cruises#3 in Best Cruises to Hawaii (tie)
Launched in 2002 and last refurbished in December 2017, the 2,600-passenger Star Princess offers the modern amenities of larger ships – including a 300-square-foot poolside theater and The Sanctuary adults-only retreat – without sacrificing personalized service.
The ship's diverse dining options, which include four specialty venues, three main dining rooms and five laid-back eateries were a hit among previous cruisers. Recent passengers also complimented the well-appointed cabins. About 80 percent of exterior staterooms offer private balconies, and all cabins come equipped with flat-screen TVs and minifridges. Groups seeking more space can opt for Mini-Suites or Two Bedroom Family Suites. For extra perks, like priority boarding and special food options, opt for a Club Class room.
Star Princess' onboard activities include Zumba classes, wine tastings and lectures through the ship's Discovery at SEA program. The ship also offers programming designed for kids and teens ages 3 to 17. Star Princess does not yet offer the OceanMedallion wearable device on its sailings.
- #5Princess Cruises#5 in Best Cruises to Hawaii
First launched in 1998, the 2,600-passenger Grand Princess underwent a renovation in March 2019 that added new top-deck dining venues like Slice Pizzeria, The Mix, Salty Dog Grill and Coffee & Cones. The Princess Theater was also refreshed to provide a more immersive audio experience. Other onboard amenities include the adults-only Sanctuary, duty-free boutiques and educational programs through the Discovery of SEA program.
The ship houses numerous dining venues, including three main dining rooms, four specialty venues and a variety of casual eateries serving classics like burgers and pizza. Come nightfall, passengers can enjoy cocktails at their pick of lounges.
The recently refurbished accommodations are outfitted with amenities like flat-screen TVs and minifridges. Though only 76 percent of exterior cabins offer private balconies – a lower percentage than other ships in the fleet – guests describe cabins as comfortable and spacious. Plus, thanks to a nearly 2-to-1 guest-to-crew ratio (the ship features 1,150 crew members), past cruisers describe the onboard service as attentive and friendly. What's more, as of March 2020, each guest aboard Grand Princess will receive an OceanMedallion wearable device to unlock his or her stateroom, make onboard payments, track down friends and family and more.
- #6Norwegian Cruise Line#6 in Best Cruises to Hawaii
The 2,376-passenger Norwegian Jewel (the namesake of the line's Jewel-class ships) has been cruising since 2005 and underwent an extensive renovation in December 2018. It reemerged boasting refreshed dining venues, updated lounges, premier entertainment options and redesigned staterooms. With its low 1-to-2 crew-to-guest ratio, the ship makes tailored experiences a priority.
With 15 eateries and 13 bars and lounges, every guest has plenty of elbow room. Passenger favorites include O'Sheehan's 24-hour bar and grill and the specialty Brazilian steakhouse.
While Jewel appeals to a variety of traveler types, it's especially well-suited for families thanks to its age-appropriate kids clubs, a video arcade and waterslides. But there are plenty of diversions to keep grown-ups occupied as well, such as a full-service spa, a casino and sports facilities.
As for lodging, cruisers can choose between Inside, Oceanview, Balcony, Mini-Suite and Suite category cabins. Those looking for even more space and luxury should opt for a cabin in The Haven, which offers multiple bedrooms and access to a private sun deck.
- #7Carnival Cruise Line#7 in Best Cruises to Hawaii (tie)
Like other Carnival ships, the 2,124-passenger Carnival Miracle boasts activities and entertainment geared toward travelers of all ages. Thanks to a renovation in 2015, the ship features some "Fun Ship 2.0" upgrades, including dining and entertainment options like the Punchliner Comedy Club, the SkyBox Sports Bar and the Seuss at Sea program. The ship's next refurbishment is set for 2020.
Even with the added venues, a nearly 2-to-1 guest-to-crew ratio ensures service is a priority. And compared to other Carnival ships, Miracle offers a higher percentage of cabins with ocean views. While Interior staterooms provide more wallet-friendly digs, Ocean View, Balcony and Suite category cabins offers more space and scenery. All cabins come equipped with flat-screen TVs and 24-hour room service.
During days at sea, grown-ups can enjoy poolside lounging or the adults-only Serenity Retreat, while kids ages 2 to 17 can play at age-specific programs. Once the family works up an appetite, they'll have their pick of the main dining room, the Lido buffet, a specialty steakhouse (for an extra fee) and more.
- #7Norwegian Cruise Line#7 in Best Cruises to Hawaii (tie)
Renovated in 2016, Pride of America is Norwegian's only ship that offers year-round sailings in Hawaii. As such, it is home to a hands-on learning center about the history of Hawaii and the fleet's only luau-inspired show, Rock-a-Hula. The ship also represents other famous USA sights with themed areas like the SoHo Art Gallery (reminiscent of New York) and the South Beach Pool (based on Miami Beach).
The ship caters to a diverse set of age groups; it offers youth-oriented programs for guests ages 3 to 17, as well as more adult-friendly pursuits like a golf driving net, the Mandara Spa and the quiet Conservatory.
Pride of America's cabins also appeal to a wide range of travelers, from the Studio staterooms for solo travelers (which include exclusive access to the Studio Lounge) to Inside, Oceanview, Balcony and Suite category cabins for groups. Pride of America offers 13 eateries ranging from the complimentary Aloha Café to Cagney's Steakhouse, one of seven specialty restaurants.
Pride of America carries up to 2,186 passengers and 927 crew members, maintaining a nearly 2-to-1 crew-to-guest ratio.
Disclaimers about ship ratings: A ship’s Health Rating is based on vessel inspection scores published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If a ship did not receive a CDC score within 22 months prior to the calculation of its Overall Rating, its Health Rating appears as N/A; in such a case, the ship’s Overall Rating is calculated using the average Health Rating of all CDC-rated ships within the cruise line. All ship Traveler Ratings are based on ratings provided under license by Cruiseline.com.
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